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Thread: Difference between open and closed combs?

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    Default Difference between open and closed combs?

    I've been thinking about picking up another DE razor sometime soon and I was wondering if anyone could help me with understanding the differences between the two in terms of shave quality.

    Right now I have a Merkur 34C with a closed comb. With a new blade the thing shaves like a dream. Would there be much difference between it and say a 15C which is open combed?

    I also see people talking about shimming their blades. I've never shimmed a blade but I understand a little of the reasoning behind it. I assume that an adjustable DE would be the same principle.

    So since I have a good DE that I like already should I just stick with it or should I look for an open comb as well? Or maybe an adjustable butterfly opening DE? Maybe both?

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    The Assyrian Obie's Avatar
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    TexasShaver:
    The shave head on the open comb is like a rake, where the blade is more exposed. Some open combs are quite aggressive — Muhle R41, FaTip and Joris, among others. The Merkur 15C is a relatively mild open comb. As for shimming a blade, that's too esoteric for me and I have never bothered with it. If a razor and blade do not work for me, I get rid of them and get something that does. Your Merkur 34C is a classic and a fine razor.

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    So basically there isnt much of a difference other than the amount of blade exposed? I take it one really doesnt shave any better than the other?

    What would be a good comparable DE to my 34 for use as a travel razor? I've kind of got RAD with DE's too, so Im thinking of seeing what I can find cheap at some antique stores around here. DE's seem to be cheaper and more readily available in my area than SRs. Although does anyone have any link perhaps to restoring DEs?

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    Senior Member blabbermouth JimmyHAD's Avatar
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    I've only used vintage Gillette open combs and a few vintage German examples. I think one reason Gillette went with the bar guard was because guys dropped their razors, bent the teeth on the open comb, and if they tried to bend them back straight, many times they broke off. Also the bar guard must have been a lot cheaper from the mfg point of view.

    I personally can't tell a difference in the shave between the two, other than the blade exposure Obie noted, and that is more a matter of the individual model razor than whether it is bar guard or open comb. IMHO.

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    The Assyrian Obie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TexasShaver View Post
    So basically there isnt much of a difference other than the amount of blade exposed? I take it one really doesnt shave any better than the other?

    What would be a good comparable DE to my 34 for use as a travel razor? I've kind of got RAD with DE's too, so Im thinking of seeing what I can find cheap at some antique stores around here. DE's seem to be cheaper and more readily available in my area than SRs. Although does anyone have any link perhaps to restoring DEs?
    There are many variables when comparing double edge safety razors, whether open comb or closed. For instance, the Feather will shave differently from the Muhle R41 open comb. The Edwin Jagger DE 89 will shave differently from the Weber. Not only that, the type of blade used will also make a difference in the shave. The characteristics of the individual's beard can't be discounted. And let's not forget the shaver's level of experience. So one can't generalize about DE razors. Your best bet would be to experience various DE razors, and blades, and draw your conclusions.

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    Well to be quite honest, I'm a fan of redundancy. I'm the kind of person who likes having backups for my backups. If I need one of something when I go to the store, I buy two. And I know I need something from the store when I'm down to only one on hand.

    As for choice of blades, I like things I can find locally as oppose to things that always have to be ordered. I use Wilkinson Sword blades from Walmart. I can find them locally and they work good on my face without me having to order more online. There may come a day when I do have to order them and should I find a better bulk deal online then I can find in store I would probably go that route. I know there are alot of blades out there. I'm sure that failing to try them all is probably not the best thing to do. So far I've only tried Wilkinson, Personna, and Shark. Wilks have been my favorite thus far. Honestly, as of right now, based solely on price, convenience, and comfort of shave alone, Wilks are my go to blades.

    As far as razor style and design go, I have only the one DE, but also have 2 SRs, and a Shavette but I don't feel that I have enough. I'm still not completely sold that I will always use a straight razor just based on time constraints, but I will always have a couple on hand just in case. But I also wouldn't mind having a couple of DEs on hand for travel and should the need arise that I must use a different one, or hell, even if I just want to do something different that day.

    Basically, I'm wanting y'all to explain some differences to me, which y'all have done very well and I thank y'all for, and to basically help me justify buying more razors.

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    The Hurdy Gurdy Man thebigspendur's Avatar
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    Blade exposure is no trivial matter in a DE. it can make a DE as finicky as a straight and give a shave almost as close.
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    Senior Member blabbermouth JimmyHAD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TexasShaver View Post
    Basically, I'm wanting y'all to explain some differences to me, which y'all have done very well and I thank y'all for, and to basically help me justify buying more razors.
    When it comes to RAD, and the other acquisition disorders, you can always depend on the membership of SRP for moral support. BTW, I like to have back ups of every darn thing too ..... and having three or four is even better than having two.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyHAD View Post
    When it comes to RAD, and the other acquisition disorders, you can always depend on the membership of SRP for moral support. BTW, I like to have back ups of every darn thing too ..... and having three or four is even better than having two.
    Also, just think, if a burglar gets in and steals your razors having loads of them means you have too many to carry all of them off so you won't be cleaned out.
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    Senior Member mjsorkin's Avatar
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    I think for travel the best thing is to get a case for your razor and bring it with you. I don't really get the concept of a smaller razor for travel. They are all pretty portable.


    Michael
    “there is the danger that the ignorant man may easily underdose himself and by exposing his microbes to nonlethal quantities of the drug make them resistant.”---Fleming

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